The media has totally run with the reported criticism of Trump by his own Supreme Court nominee this morning. It’s become such a big deal that Gorsuch’s team has now released a statement pointing out that he was not commenting on political matters:
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who is aiding Gorsuch as he speaks with senators, released a statement Thursday morning clarifying the comments Gorsuch made to Blumenthal.
“Judge Gorsuch has made it very clear in all of his discussions with senators, including Senator Blumenthal, that he could not comment on any specific cases and that judicial ethics prevent him from commenting on political matters,” Ayotte said. “He has also emphasized the importance of an independent judiciary, and while he made clear that he was not referring to any specific case, he said that he finds any criticism of a judge’s integrity and independence disheartening and demoralizing.”
So it sounds like he’s saying his criticism wasn’t specifically about Trump, as conveyed by Blumenthal who is still defending it.
Brit Hume believes there’s a moral to this story:
New Senate rule: never have a private conversation with Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
— Brit Hume (@brithume) February 9, 2017
This whole ordeal was obviously the point of Trump’s false criticism of Chris Cuomo this morning, to emphasize that Blumenthal has been a liar in the past and therefore can’t be trusted now.
It does sound like to me (and I could be wrong) that Gorsuch’s comments on being disheartened were in the context of Trump’s tweet against the liberal judge who stopped his executive order. Even Ben Sasse suggested that was the case:
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) February 9, 2017
So while Gorsuch may have not mentioned Trump by name, Trump would obviously fall into the category of criticism that Gorsuch was talking about.
As an aside, it probably only helps his case to criticize Trump. As I said this morning on Twitter (tongue in cheek):
Gorsuch might just be one Trump criticism away from getting a unanimous vote in the Senate putting him on the Supreme Court
— ✟ Right Scoop ✟ (@trscoop) February 9, 2017